MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This spring, doctors started recommending we wear face masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19. And now nearly 70% of Americans say they do, at least some of the time.
But what are the do’s and don’ts of face masks? There is a right way to wear one, and one best way to keep your mask clean.
Even before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made its recommendation, Minnesota’s sewing squad got to work.
“There is some value to covering your face even if you don’t have any symptoms,” XXXXXXXXXXXX said.
The CDC has shared instructions, and the surgeon general made a YouTube video on how we can keep those droplets to ourselves.
“If I was going to wear this to the grocery store, the outside might become contaminated, right? If I was sick, the inside might become contaminated,” XXXXXXXXXXXXX said.
Dr. Jill Crittenden is part of a consortium researching hospital-grade N-95 masks. She also studies the medical and cloth ones too.
“Our goal was what are the least bad ways to decontaminate them,” Crittenden said.
Data show these masks work better than the DIY ones.
“You can fit them around your nose right here,” she said. “In the back you create a gap, so when you breathe out, the air goes out the back.”
But with those in high demand, she says the cloth masks are certainly better than nothing, if you’re using them correctly.
“In fact, the double layer woven fabrics are quite effective,” she said. “Adjust the mask over your face covering your mouth and chin making sure there are no gaps with the face and the mask.”
As for what not-to-do, The New Yorker writer Peter Hessler came up with some creative names for that:
Holster: Keep the straps behind your ears — but pull the mask down
Low-Rider: Feels like you’re following the rules, but your nose sticks out
Flapjack: dangle so you can talk on the phone.
“Wearing the mask while you’re speaking is particularly important,” Crittenden said.
Dr. Crittenden says wash your hands before you put it on. Don’t touch the mask while wearing it.
“That’s a difficult thing for most of us to not touch our faces,” Crittenden said.
And when you take it off, use the straps then wash your hands again.
Crittenden also says if you don’t come near anyone, a wash every outing isn’t as critical. The CDC says washing should be routine, depending on how often you use the mask.
“I think it brings a sense of community, that we’re all trying to protect ourselves,” Crittenden said.
When you take off your mask, grab the sides, not the front. Assume that’s contaminated. Just one cycle through your washing machine should be enough to keep your mask clean.